By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger believes Jack Wilshere will make his name in the role that Dennis Bergkamp filled with distinction.
The teenager has emerged as one of English football's brightest talents this season and, thus far, has operated on the right flank for Arsenal. However, Wilshere's manager thinks he has the attributes to succeed a certain Dutch legend in the middle of the park.
"I believe he will end up a central midfielder, just off the striker in the Bergkamp role," said Wenger during his exclusive webchat on Arsenal TV Online this week.
"I am convinced he will have tremendous penetrative power and we forget that this boy is only 16 and already has so much power - you give him four more years and he will be massively strong.
"He can find the final ball and can also score goals. He is a passionate and committed guy, he is not afraid of tackles and you would want this type of player to finish off central."
This has already been a landmark campaign for Wilshere. He made his Premier League debut at Blackburn and caught the eye during Arsenal's run to the Carling Cup Quarter-Finals, opening his account for the Club in the 6-0 win over Sheffield United. Wilshere then became the youngest player to represent the Club in European competition when he made his Champions League debut against Dynamo Kyiv last month aged 16 years and 329 days.
Wilshere has looked right at home at the top level but Wenger warned not to demand too much too soon from the Hertfordshire-born midfielder. After all, Wilshere does not turn 17 until New Year's Day.
"I would not like to put too much pressure on Jack because of the expectation level," said Wenger.
"That is one of the problems you have when you are talented and very young - Theo Walcott went through that.
"At the start there is a lot of enthusiasm around players, and suddenly afterwards people say 'oh he is not as good as we thought he would be', there is a lot of scepticism around the player. He has to survive at the top level and it is not easy.
"Theo coped well with that and I am confident we can surround Jack well enough to deal with it."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 18 Dec 2008